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Why the post-ROTJ era sucks!


Beniboybling

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A controversial title yes, and perhaps a little exaggerated. But nonetheless, the post-ROTJ period as Star Wars is collectively flawed, and for many reasons, however I feel there is one that stands out from the others.

 

And that is the lack of that construct inherent to Star Wars – good and evil.

 

Some of the most successful and popular Star Wars productions are those that draw on this construct. The Original Trilogy is the most iconic of these, with Luke Skywalker and his band of rebels representing ‘good’ and Emperor Palpatine, Vader and the Galactic Empire representing ‘evil’ - clearly defined through the notion of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ sides of the Force. The Prequel Trilogy and the Clone Wars series continues this, we have inherently good characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and various clone troopers, and then he have inherently evil characters such as General Grievous, Count Dooku and of course, Darth Sidious. Yes, there are those characters that seem to blur the boundaries, the Jedi Order as a whole seems to have lost its way, the Republic is corrupt, the Separatists aren’t always that bad and Anakin Skywalker becomes something of an anti-hero. But nonetheless, they all exist within the clearly defined bounds of good and evil.

 

The Old Republic era is perhaps most successful because is so effectively translates this into its own works. The opening crawl to Knights of the Old Republic reads like A New Hope, Darth Malak is a clear villain whereas Revan as his companions represent light and good. Of course, you can choose to eschew that by pursuing the path of the dark side, but many of your companions remain dedicated to the light, which is also represented by the Republic and the Jedi. Knights of the Old Republic II seems to exist more in the realm of the prequels, it’s filled with darkness and nobody quite seems ‘good’. But nevertheless the constructs remain, Sion and Nihilus are clear representatives of evil and the story itself seems more about a rediscovery of good, even if you turn to the dark side, the story merely changes to a mourning of its loss. SWTOR has a clear definition between good and evil, the Republic and the Empire, with the criminal underworld in between, that is how Star Wars should be done.

 

And then, we have the post-ROTJ era, which seems very much to have lost its way. In the New Republic era we have Luke Skywalker and the rest of the heroes liberating the galaxy from the evil Empire, oh but wait, it doesn’t quite go like that because the Empire, without Sidious, isn’t that evil anymore. Thrawn, Isaard, Paellon – are they really evil? Or perhaps just morally misguided, or perhaps simply leaders of another faction fighting for different ideals. And without the Sith, is the Galactic Empire really that bad? No it’s not a democracy, but the primary focus of Star Wars was never politics, it was far more mythical than that. And yet throughout the post-ROTJ era we find ourselves thrust into the quagmire of politics reminiscent of The Phantom Menace’s famous senatorial scenes. From this we are given a brief reprieve when the Emperor returns but this is negated by the fact that well, the Emperor returns.

 

But moving swiftly on, behold! The New Jedi Order era! Finally were going to get back to the roots of Star Wars right? Back to that epic conflict between good and evil? Right? Wrong. Instead of the dark side we get a Zerg rush of creepy aliens, the Yuuzhan Vong, who literally go around the galaxy trashing just about everything. And these guys simply don’t fall into the category of evil, but rather parasite, plague and virus. But anyway the result of this the formation of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, an amalgamation of God knows what and who. Indeed the excessive number of factions fighting over the galaxy makes the situation even worse, the Imperial Remnant, the Chiss Ascendancy, the New Republic, none of these factions seem either good or evil.

 

And the confusion continues into the Legacy era, where innumerable factions continues to fight over the galaxy, with no clear definition of who is good and who is evil. The Galactic Alliance becomes split in two and the Jedi Order ping-pong between both sides, the Sith have a brief resurgence, lending a deal of good and evil back to the franchise, but we still have the Imperial Remnant running about and the Confederation proving equally difficult to pin down on the moral compass. Altogether the outcome off the Second Galactic Civil War is... well I really have no idea. But 100 years later the Sith are ruling the galaxy but wait no, they’re not quite, but some sort of revision of the Imperial Remnant this time with a non-Force sensitive Emperor called Fel who has a cadre of grey Force sensitive knights, who all get overthrown by Darth Krayt and his lackeys. Oh and meanwhile the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances is doing... something. Don’t even ask me who’s meant to be good and evil in that mess, because I have no idea.

 

So, to conclude. Disney, Lucasarts, JJ, if you really want to create a successful Star Wars trilogy make sure that if has the key constructs, don’t think you can just chuck some lightsabers, blasters and fancy starships in there and go tada! It doesn’t work.

Edited by Beniboybling
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There are some rather interesting ideas though, and remember its all opinion so there is no really saying that something is good or bad because were not all wired the same way. I know you said it doesn't, but just throwing it out there.

 

Now early post-ROTJ, that was to be expected because while the leader of the Empire died. You are still gonna have all these Moffs and everything fighting for control over what is left.

 

Later on though, with the 2nd GCW and all that noise...I mean the Imperial Knights were an interesting concept...but they just can't work given there is no grey side of the Force.

 

There were a bunch of different ideas, for different authors though who wanted to write a piece of Star Wars history. Good ideas, but the way those ideas presented themselves in their forms were....eh. They weren't bad, but the ideas could have been thought over more.

 

Now with the OR era, that entire place was untouched and so therefore the reason it did so well. Was because....it was a blank clean slate, in which things could happen the way authors wanted them to.

Edited by Wolfninjajedi
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There are some rather interesting ideas though, and remember its all opinion so there is no really saying that something is good or bad because were not all wired the same way. I know you said it doesn't, but just throwing it out there.
I'm not necessarily saying post-ROTJ is bad (although in my opinion it is) but as Star Wars it is flawed.

 

Although I'd disagree that OR is anymore clean a slate that post-ROTJ on which there are practically no restrictions, as canon in that direction simply doesn't exist. Whereas the OR era has to slot into place correctly, and so restrictions are placed on it.

 

After all, post-ROTJ hasn't exactly respected the boundaries has it?

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First, remember that you think it is bad, and that everyone has their own opinion.

 

Second, I think I'll partially agree with you in terms of the natural good vs. evil thing. We get the feeling that the Vong are evil, and what they do is evil. For the Swarm War, we know that the ultimate mastermind behind it all is evil, but the Killiks themselves aren't evil. It's more of a seudo-mind control thing that happens there.

 

When we get to the Second GCW, it is more difficult to see who is good and who is evil. It's obvious the Jedi are the good guys, but the Galactic Alliance has been corrupted (especially after Caedus' fall).

 

We do know that there is an eventual bad guy found in Darth Caedus, but even then his actions seem just, albeit gone about the wrong way. Abeloth was one of the few moments of good vs. evil in post-ROTJ. We can clearly see that she is evil.

 

However, we do know that there is a constant force for good in the EU: the Jedi Order. From there, evil becomes subjective in such an environment.

 

As to the title. Does post-ROTJ suck? No, it simply has some poorly implemented ideas. Personally, I find many of the stories to be well done. It's just that other ideas simply weren't implemented correctly.

 

However, the old wisdom in this regard remains the same: Entertainment is subjective. Some of my favorite books (Thrawn books, Outcast) come from this era. Some of my favorite characters (Kyle Katarn, Thrawn) come from this era.

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I'm not necessarily saying post-ROTJ is bad (although in my opinion it is) but as Star Wars it is flawed.

 

Although I'd disagree that OR is anymore clean a slate that post-ROTJ on which there are practically no restrictions, as canon in that direction simply doesn't exist. Whereas the OR era has to slot into place correctly, and so restrictions are placed on it.

 

After all, post-ROTJ hasn't exactly respected the boundaries has it?

 

Well Post-ROTJ was a clean slate, after dealing with the remains of the Empire and all that. It seemed the authors, just wanted to pick up where it all left off and from there well....there ya go. Boundaires? Hm? You mean like bringing in the Vong, Imperial Knights and all? Then ya.....I mean, the concept of the Vong(a completely different species/organization etc and so forth) was interesting, the Vong themselves...were...meh, the only thing that bothered me about them was they were immune to The Force entirely.(They were right?)

 

As said, the concept of all these things were interesting. Just the way the authors panned it all out, not so much...

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Well Post-ROTJ was a clean slate, after dealing with the remains of the Empire and all that. It seemed the authors, just wanted to pick up where it all left off and from there well....there ya go. Boundaires? Hm? You mean like bringing in the Vong, Imperial Knights and all? Then ya.....I mean, the concept of the Vong(a completely different species/organization etc and so forth) was interesting, the Vong themselves...were...meh, the only thing that bothered me about them was they were immune to The Force entirely.(They were right?)

 

As said, the concept of all these things were interesting. Just the way the authors panned it all out, not so much...

 

The Vong were interesting, and I quite liked them as the bad guys. They weren't immune to the Force. Powers could still be used on them but the Jedi had to physically see them. The Vong had been cutoff from the Force. This made made them undectable in the Force. Unlike everything else, Jedi could not feel them. Because of this Vong could sneak up on Jedi if they were quiet enough, and they were very cunning warriors. Aurbere may be able to shed more light on this as I am doing it all from memory, but I believe the Vong were orginally from Zonama Sekot and that planet had stripped them of their Force connection.

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I'm more with Aurbre on this one. Many of what was done post ROTJ was trying to restructure the galaxy up until the arrival of the Vong.

 

then it wasn't good or evil. It was defense against annihilation and assimilation. I honestly think when the standard good vs evil gets blurred, you get to see some very interesting choices and outcomes.

 

I mean cadeus/Jacen solo. Guy who saved the Galaxy, then turned around and tried to take it over. His motives were pure, but his means, were just all wrong.

 

It also kicks the pedestal out from under heros and HUMANIZES them. The fight for the control of the jedi between Kenneth Hammer and Seba Sebytine, showed again that jedi can be HUMANIZED and show to make rash and sometimes wrong choices.

 

I think that part was a good thing. Implementation however, was not done so well.

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First, remember that you think it is bad, and that everyone has their own opinion.
I never said it was bad, but as Star Wars I find it flawed. Of course this is my opinion, you don't have to agree.

 

In fact I'm not saying that all of post-ROTJ is poor quality, I'm very well aware that the Thrawn Trilogy is very well written, that the characters are excellently established etc. but so is Lord of the Rings, and yet if that entered Star Wars canon it wouldn't really work. If you see what I mean. And I think their is an objective truth for what makes Star Wars what it is, good and evil is one of those vital characteristics - just ask George Lucas.

I'm more with Aurbre on this one. Many of what was done post ROTJ was trying to restructure the galaxy up until the arrival of the Vong.

 

then it wasn't good or evil. It was defense against annihilation and assimilation. I honestly think when the standard good vs evil gets blurred, you get to see some very interesting choices and outcomes.

 

I mean cadeus/Jacen solo. Guy who saved the Galaxy, then turned around and tried to take it over. His motives were pure, but his means, were just all wrong.

 

It also kicks the pedestal out from under heros and HUMANIZES them. The fight for the control of the jedi between Kenneth Hammer and Seba Sebytine, showed again that jedi can be HUMANIZED and show to make rash and sometimes wrong choices.

 

I think that part was a good thing. Implementation however, was not done so well.

I see what you mean, but I disagree that you can't have humanised characters with these grounds. Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi and various characters in the KOTOR series (Bastila Shan, Carth Onasi to name a few) come across as very human, and yet they still represent good. Even though they sometimes make rash and wrong decisions, ultimately they have good intentions. Likewise, the lines between good and evil can be blurred, and that works well as has done in prievous works. But when approaching the concept of Star Wars, those standards have to exist in some form. KOTOR 2 is a good example of this, the lines were most certainly blurred, and yet the Exile represented good and the Sith (Sion and Nihilus) represented evil.

 

Darth Vader is another example of a very human character, who started of good and turned to the dark side, yet still appealed to the constructs of good and evil. Mace Windu and Quinlan Vos likewise walk the line before good and evil, but those definitions still exist, while in the post-ROTJ I feel they are all to often lost completely.

 

Indeed if you dispose of them entirely, while it would be effective in any other universe, in Star Wars all it does is draw away from the mysticism that underpins its core.

 

But like you said, its a great idea, but it has been implemented ineffective way - a balance must be struck. I for one, am very interested to see how Abrams and Ardnt will handle it. Ardnt for one seems very much a traditionalist will likely uphold these values.

Edited by Beniboybling
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Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi and various characters in the KOTOR series (Bastila Shan, Carth Onasi to name a few) come across as very human, and yet they still represent good..

 

Maybe because they are human?:p I see what you did there.;)

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Here's the way I see it:

 

Thrawn, Isard, Pellaeon: Thrawn and Pellaeon were definitely good, or at the very least gray. They were heroes, not villains. Isard, on the other hand, was a complete nutcase who hated every alien species and even invented a virus to wipe them out ("All of them" - Sidious). The reason there's no clear-cut evil here is, evil is dead, and its henchmen, even the "good" ones, are reeling. However, evil really isn't dead, because for every Thrawn and Pellaeon you have a Black Hole or a Desann or a Jerec or a Tavion; a representation of the dark side (note that all these come from video games, which do require a clear-cut villain for the hero to face). (note 2: I refuse to acknowledge Hethrir or the cloned Palpatine. Hethrir should never have existed because Crystal Star is an abomination to all that is good and right, and the clone Palpatine is, IMO, just that: a clone, not the true Palpatine reborn.) Also, there's the Dark Fleet Crisis, with the Yevethans (which almost seem like proto-Vong as far as the hating of all other races). They were most definitely evil.

 

Yuuzhan Vong: The Yuuzhan Vong were, simply put, a good idea gone bad. From the outset they were planned to be Force-sensitive Dark side users, the lot of them. But George Lucas nixed the idea, and they became Force-dead instead. That was a mistake, IMO–the first mistake. The second was giving them organic technology. If it was proto-organic, fine, but totally organic? A little ridiculous. However, I did enjoy Tsavong Lah as a villain and I regretted his death at a fairly early point in the series; he had been built up as a major baddie and now we had to turn to Shimrra, who had no development whatsoever, as our bad guy, and then found out Onimi was actually the real bad guy (double-double jeopardy, anyone?), who was Force sensitive. The Vong were good in the first three to five books, but they got really ridiculous after awhile. (Sidenote: However, the series did spawn one of my favorite villains and/or antiheroes of all time, Nom Anor, who was written spectacularly in The Unifying Force.)

 

Second Galactic Civil War: What starts out as a simple almost-second-rebellion turns into open war, only our heroes are supposedly on the tyrannical side. And get this: Han and Leia go with the rebels. Say what now? That's a little annoying. More annoying is Jacen Solo's turn to the dark side. It just makes me sad that they built this guy up to be a hero, and then this happens because Troy Denning had a brain spasm. Darth Caedus was a believable enemy toward the end, but that's just the thing; for at least six or seven of the nine books, he wasn't even really bad. He was sad about all the things he was doing, but he was doing them anyway. That's not evil, that's punkish. He was a jerk, another whiny Skywalker. And his motivations were a wreck, so the crew of FOTJ had to go in and fix them. Lumiya was great as a villain, but she only lasted until Luke killed her in cold blood because he had no evidence that she'd killed his wife.

 

Lost Tribe of the Sith: Remember that the Lost Tribe were only the secondary villains of the series, behind Abeloth (who was pure evil). I didn't like the Daala-as-chief-of-state thing (would you elect Osama Bin-Laden as president?), but it worked out eventually. The galaxy had just gotten over whining about how the Galactic Alliance was evil and tyrannical, and now you put an ex-Imperial obsessed with wiping out the Jedi in charge of the government? Wynn Dorvan was a great character, and a foil to Daala's "villain." As to Abeloth, starting simple was good. She was bad, she messed up some Jedi's minds, and she killed big time. Then they had to come in and make a big story with her past and connect her to the Mortis arc from TCW. That was a little much, though I did kind of enjoy it. And this series made a huge thing about developing Raynar Thul into something of a secondary hero, only to snatch him back to bug-brain at the end. What is that? Sure it was supposed to be a heroic sacrifice, but it was a silly thing to do.

 

Overall, I think post-ROTJ was a lot of good ideas churned out wrong. I loved FOTJ, I really did; it read more cohesive than LOTF, where you could distinctly tell "this novel is Traviss'." Not that that's a terrible thing, because I like Traviss' work, but in a nine-book series with three authors the book-to-book transition should be nearly seamless–which it was in FOTJ. LOTF, not so much. I will be a little disappointed, but hopeful, when VII inevitably overwrites these series. Especially the character of Ben Skywalker, because he's an awesome character. I hope he can have a part in the ST.

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This is very interesting to read, since most of these reasons are what initially got me writing my fanfic. I was irritated by the motivations behind Jacen Solo, the strange pointlessness of the Second Galactic Civil War, etc.

 

I think that having Jacen become a Sith Lord was just rather awkwardly done. Having Lumiya pop out and convince him to kill his own aunt? Far more believable were his later motivations in the series, where he saw himself as making hard choices to keep the Alliance intact.

 

I think that one of the interesting things about the era is that you can have individual characters who are clearly defined as good and evil, but the factions they serve cannot always make the clear cut moral decisions that they would like to.

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To put it bluntly as literature is concerned, considering the genre it falls in to, si-fy fantasy. yeah it is pretty bad.

There is no way arround it, that there is tons of stuff way better then those star wars books.

sad but true. Can be guilty pleasure, but its not realy of great quality fantasy/si-fy literature.

 

However i think star wars franchise is much more sucessfull in comics. And probably a better fit in that artistic current.

Edited by Spartanik
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And that is the lack of that construct inherent to Star Wars – good and evil.

 

Some of the most successful and popular Star Wars productions are those that draw on this construct. The Original Trilogy is the most iconic of these, with Luke Skywalker and his band of rebels representing ‘good’ and Emperor Palpatine, Vader and the Galactic Empire representing ‘evil’ - clearly defined through the notion of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ sides of the Force. The Prequel Trilogy and the Clone Wars series continues this, they all exist within the clearly defined bounds of good and evil.

A slight oversimplification, Han was a smuggler with connections to the criminal underworld, he was smuggling spice for Jabba just before episode IV, he wasn't evil but he wasn't good. Spice is a very addictive drug with no legitimate use, smuggling it is obvertly evil, but Han also freed Chew-bacca from slavery, an act that wrecked his military career(a very promising career prior to that). The fight between the Rebellion and the Empire colours things but the distinction between good and evil isn't as clear cut as people remember.

The Old Republic era is perhaps most successful because is so effectively translates this into its own works. Darth Malak is a clear villain whereas Revan as his companions represent light and good. Of course, you can choose to eschew that by pursuing the path of the dark side. Knights of the Old Republic II seems to exist more in the realm of the prequels, it’s filled with darkness and nobody quite seems ‘good’. Sion and Nihilus are clear representatives of evil and the story itself seems more about a rediscovery of good. SWTOR has a clear definition between good and evil, the Republic and the Empire, with the criminal underworld in between, that is how Star Wars should be done.

Could be argued either way, yes there is a clear good versus evil theme, but there is also a huge number of instances were it's less clear, like in Manaan were you investigate a suspect in a murder trial, you can get him executed, freed, or imprisoned, all by deciding whether to reveal information or not, not because you know if he's innocent but by how much evidence you present.

 

And then, we have the post-ROTJ era, which seems very much to have lost its way. In the New Republic era we have Luke Skywalker and the rest of the heroes liberating the galaxy from the evil Empire, oh but wait, it doesn’t quite go like that because the Empire, without Sidious, isn’t that evil anymore. Thrawn, Isaard, Paellon – are they really evil? Or perhaps just morally misguided, or perhaps simply leaders of another faction fighting for different ideals. And without the Sith, is the Galactic Empire really that bad? No it’s not a democracy, but the primary focus of Star Wars was never politics, it was far more mythical than that. And yet throughout the post-ROTJ era we find ourselves thrust into the quagmire of politics reminiscent of The Phantom Menace’s famous senatorial scenes. From this we are given a brief reprieve when the Emperor returns but this is negated by the fact that well, the Emperor returns.
You need to remember the quote by ben kenobi's ghost about "a lot of the truths we cling to depend upon our perspective". The focus of the original trilogy is a civil war, that war is winding down, so the focus of the story needs to shift, otherwise you end up with books about military trivia (fictional military trivia at that). The politics only intruded when political matters would intrude, it would be painfully false to have no politics, or to avoid Leia because she's a politician. Also the imperial leaders were usually evil, Thrawn for example had exterminated entire species because he couldn't conquor them. I actually loved these books.

But moving swiftly on, behold! The New Jedi Order era! Finally were going to get back to the roots of Star Wars right? Back to that epic conflict between good and evil? Right? Wrong. Instead of the dark side we get a Zerg rush of creepy aliens, the Yuuzhan Vong, who literally go around the galaxy trashing just about everything. And these guys simply don’t fall into the category of evil, but rather parasite, plague and virus. But anyway the result of this the formation of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, an amalgamation of God knows what and who. Indeed the excessive number of factions fighting over the galaxy makes the situation even worse, the Imperial Remnant, the Chiss Ascendancy, the New Republic, none of these factions seem either good or evil.

I agree about the Yuuzhan Vong, but the idea that is has to be good versus evil, that's problematic. Good and Evil are defined by a culture's morality, and morality is usually defined by religion, this means that various people are going to have widely differing views on good and evil. It's contraversal even within a single culture, there are various topics people avoid so as not to start an arguement, these are topics that people hold strong views on but don't necessarily agree on, and once people start fighting over these views good and evil are nearly impossible to define

And the confusion continues into the Legacy era, where innumerable factions continues to fight over the galaxy, with no clear definition of who is good and who is evil. The Galactic Alliance becomes split in two and the Jedi Order ping-pong between both sides, the Sith have a brief resurgence, lending a deal of good and evil back to the franchise, but we still have the Imperial Remnant running about and the Confederation proving equally difficult to pin down on the moral compass. Altogether the outcome off the Second Galactic Civil War is... well I really have no idea. But 100 years later the Sith are ruling the galaxy but wait no, they’re not quite, but some sort of revision of the Imperial Remnant this time with a non-Force sensitive Emperor called Fel who has a cadre of grey Force sensitive knights, who all get overthrown by Darth Krayt and his lackeys. Oh and meanwhile the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances is doing... something. Don’t even ask me who’s meant to be good and evil in that mess, because I have no idea.

You are not meant to know who is good or evil, the point is for you to be constantly reevaluating your basic assumptions, getting to understand that good and evil are not simple terms, and you shouldn't assume that they are, ever.

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*snip*
Let me be clear here, I don't think everything in Star Wars should be clear cut between good and evil. Variations and blurrings are good, if not necessary. But despite this those objective standards must still exist. For example, Darth Sidious is pure evil, no disputing that. Yet Darth Vader has a glimmer of good in him, not everyone in the Empire is evil etc. etc. The same applies for the Republic, Luke Skywalker is good, but Han Solo is a bit of shifty character. And the Republic, Obi-Wan Kenobi is good, but many other Jedi have lost their way, and the Republic has become mired in corruption. Nor do I think that in reality, such distinctions can be made. But this is essentially fantasy, and in fantasy good and evil are vital for a successful story. In reality, nobody is as evil as Darth Sidious are there is no such thing as 'the light side of the Force.'

 

But this isn't to say the theme has to be pervading, but it must be present. Also, like I said to Aurbere. I'm not necessarily saying that from the perspective of literature, post-ROTJ works are poor. But from the perspective of Star Wars, they miss the target. Because good and evil are vital to achieve the mysticism so inherent to the franchise, and I find the mythical aspects of Star Wars severely lacking in the post-ROTJ.

 

P.S. Different strokes for different folks yes, but Star Wars can only be done one way. And if you don't like it, your looking at the wrong universe. (That is not at all directed at you are anyone else in these forums, just a general observation.)

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Different strokes for different folks yes, but Star Wars can only be done one way.

 

Who decides what that one way is? Because there's plenty post ROTJ, even in something as "dark" as NJO or Legacy, which I find to be thematically and morally consistent with the films. If there was only one way for things to be done, a lot of stories wouldn't exist.

 

Now if the statement is "There only one way from Star Wars to be done well..", then you might be on to something but you still into the problem of what it means for it to be done well.

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Who decides what that one way is? Because there's plenty post ROTJ, even in something as "dark" as NJO or Legacy, which I find to be thematically and morally consistent with the films. If there was only one way for things to be done, a lot of stories wouldn't exist.

 

Now if the statement is "There only one way from Star Wars to be done well..", then you might be on to something but you still into the problem of what it means for it to be done well.

George Lucas, the definition of fantasy, the history of mythology - to name a few. I do believe that there is a certain way that Star Wars should be done, its not simply a universe where writers can make anything happen, given its firm roots in mythology and traditional themes.

 

However this doesn't mean there is no room for flexibility, the KOTOR series among many others have displayed this is not the case. And yes, a lot of stories wouldn't exist, namely a large portion of the post-ROTJ.

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The most boring thing I can think of is character who's so evil that he can do evil things just because he's soooooo evil. I hate it when stuff is made all black-and-white. To me, all characters should be logical. They should make the decisions that they make because it makes sense to them, not because the act is evil and they are evil so they should do it. If they have some pieces of personality that can be considered evil, there should be a good, reasonable explonation why it's like that. I.e. I have an OC sith lord who's pretty evil, she might kill first person she sees just because she was bored and wanted something to do. The reason for this is that she have been pretty much brainwashed from a child to believe that if she can hurt someone, she has all the rights to do so.

 

However, many, many "pure evil" guys don't have any good and logic explanation for their evil deeds. They're being evil just because they are evil, and if they didn't, they probably wouldn't be pure evil anymore. They would actually be human. So, I absolutely love it that it isn't good vs. evil, it's just people vs. people. So it actually was before already, a few bad leaders just "excused" the slaughter of millions of good people because "they were following the evil leader and obviously were evil too!".

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The most boring thing I can think of is character who's so evil that he can do evil things just because he's soooooo evil. I hate it when stuff is made all black-and-white. To me, all characters should be logical. They should make the decisions that they make because it makes sense to them, not because the act is evil and they are evil so they should do it. If they have some pieces of personality that can be considered evil, there should be a good, reasonable explonation why it's like that. I.e. I have an OC sith lord who's pretty evil, she might kill first person she sees just because she was bored and wanted something to do. The reason for this is that she have been pretty much brainwashed from a child to believe that if she can hurt someone, she has all the rights to do so.

 

However, many, many "pure evil" guys don't have any good and logic explanation for their evil deeds. They're being evil just because they are evil, and if they didn't, they probably wouldn't be pure evil anymore. They would actually be human. So, I absolutely love it that it isn't good vs. evil, it's just people vs. people. So it actually was before already, a few bad leaders just "excused" the slaughter of millions of good people because "they were following the evil leader and obviously were evil too!".

I'm ever so slightly inclined to agree with you. But of course this is all opinion. I for one, am a massive fan of Sidious, I think he's got a lot of character, and a lot or presence and he brings the mythical aspect needed in Star Wars. Is he evil for evil's sake? I wouldn't say so. In fact no one is, Sidious is simply power hungry, and he's a Sith and everything that comes with that.

 

Not to say that 'evil' can't be logical and interesting. Darth Marr and Darth Malgus are examples of this, for sure they represent evil. But you get the feeling they aren't power hungry megalomaniacs, they have logical justifications for their actions and believe they are doing right. In fact, Sidious is something of an anomaly, even Vader wasn't evil to his level. And he was a very interesting and very complex character. So I believe there is room for both.

 

However what you are suggesting, simply people vs people, simply isn't Star Wars. Fight me if you like, call me opinionated, but this is how I feel. After all, if I'm wrong, then what's the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek? Other than differing technology? Take away those integral themes are their becomes none.

 

Edited by Beniboybling
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I'm ever so slightly inclined to agree with you. But of course this is all opinion. I for one, am a massive fan of Sidious, I think he's got a lot of character, and a lot or presence and he brings the mythical aspect needed in Star Wars. Is he evil for evil's sake? I wouldn't say so. In fact no one is, Sidious is simply power hungry, and he's a Sith and everything that comes with that.

 

Not to say that 'evil' can't be logical and interesting. Darth Marr and Darth Malgus are examples of this, for sure they represent evil. But you get the feeling they aren't power hungry megalomaniacs, they have logical justifications for their actions and believe they are doing right. In fact, Sidious is something of an anomaly, even Vader wasn't evil to his level. And he was a very interesting and very complex character. So I believe there is room for both.

 

However what you are suggesting, simply people vs people, simply isn't Star Wars. Fight me if you like, call me opinionated, but this is how I feel. After all, if I'm wrong, then what's the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek? Other than differing technology? Take away those integral themes are their becomes none.

 

 

SW is people vs. people. It has for a long time been people vs. people to me. The only diffenrence is that in SW, it's quite often tried to make look like good vs. evil. Sidious is evil, so it's okay that the good guys just killed those 100 poor officers trying to get money to feed their families. They were working for the bad guy! Well, actually, the boss of their boss is working for a guy who's working for a bad guy, but anyway, they are so bad!

Tbh, if this is the idea of "star wars like", I'm glad many authors aren't following it.

 

Tbh the "he's sith and that makes him evil"-explanation is just like saying "he's posessed by demons and that's why he's evil". It's a shortcut if you feel lazy about trying to come up with an actual motive. Though, I believe Sidious can be much more complex character than just that - I'm not an expert in this area. But saying that someone is evil just because he's sith and that's why he has to be hungry for power and so on doesn't actually explain anything, since it doesn't tell why would this guy become so hungry for power. "That's just how dark side goes" is another shortcut.

 

So, anyway, if there were 2 sides at a war, jedi leader on the other side and a sith leader on the other side, and the sith wouldn't so anything too dramatic i.e. slaughter his own people, what would even make him evil? I'm not expert in Malgus or Marr, either, but the little times I've met with Marr in the game, he doesn't actually feel that evil. Ruthless, sure, but evil? Nah. (Malgus I never liked anyway so I'm not gonna comment that one).

 

And I've never watched Star Trek nor I have any intentions to do that. It sounds boring and the little bits I've seen also look boring. Not my cup of tea.

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So, anyway, if there were 2 sides at a war, jedi leader on the other side and a sith leader on the other side, and the sith wouldn't so anything too dramatic i.e. slaughter his own people, what would even make him evil? I'm not expert in Malgus or Marr, either, but the little times I've met with Marr in the game, he doesn't actually feel that evil. Ruthless, sure, but evil? Nah. (Malgus I never liked anyway so I'm not gonna comment that one).

 

And I've never watched Star Trek nor I have any intentions to do that. It sounds boring and the little bits I've seen also look boring. Not my cup of tea.

Malgus and Marr aren't exactly 'evil', although in some senses they are. But they do represent the dark side, which represents some form of 'evil'. We can debate over what this 'evil' actually is, but it exists nonetheless.

 

Sidious is perhaps the only example of a villain in Star Wars without any strong motives, all others have and have been very successful because of that. Neither have the 'good guys' been paragons of light. Let me stress that as well, I'm not saying that Star Wars needs paragons of good and evil, but the spheres have to exist, there can be different gradients.

 

Nor does everyone have to fit into a category, there can simply just be 'persons' and often are. But those categories still have to exist somewhere and somehow for it to work.

 

And Star Trek is like Star Wars meets Eastenders, don't watch it. :p

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Malgus and Marr aren't exactly 'evil', although in some senses they are. But they do represent the dark side, which represents some form of 'evil'. We can debate over what this 'evil' actually is, but it exists nonetheless.

 

Sidious is perhaps the only example of a villain in Star Wars without any strong motives, all others have and have been very successful because of that. Neither have the 'good guys' been paragons of light. Let me stress that as well, I'm not saying that Star Wars needs paragons of good and evil, but the spheres have to exist, there can be different gradients.

 

Nor does everyone have to fit into a category, there can simply just be 'persons' and often are. But those categories still have to exist somewhere and somehow for it to work.

 

And Star Trek is like Star Wars meets Eastenders, don't watch it. :p

 

Haven't watched Eastenders either...but I promise I won't watch either of those. :D

 

Now, to me, a "bad guy" with really good motives isn't actually a "bad" guy. Especially if the bad guy doesn't do dramatic stuff like kill your owns for fun. Using the dark side doesn't make you evil imo. However, willingly using the dark side all the time requires that you embrace emotions like anger, and that will increase the possibility that you may commit evil deeds, i.e. killing people when you really don't have to.

 

I'm not that familiar with EU far away from RotJ, mostly staying in the area where Timothy Zahn's books can be found, but let's look at Thrawn. (Putting a spoiler thing just in case someone hasn't read the Thrawn trilogy).

Yep, he's killing a lot of people. That's pretty evil I guess. He's alliancing with mentally instable potential serial killer. Okay, maybe not that evil, but not too good either. He's doing nothing to help the noghri with their homeworld. Okay, he could have tried to do something, and certainly not to poison the soil of their planet, but it's pretty obvious that the case have been lost a long time ago. He kills a guy who fails to capture Luke Skywalker. Cruel. But he promotes another one. Confusing. Mainly, he's a little cold-blooded, sane guy who makes tactically good calls and decisions that make sense, and for good reasons.

 

 

 

The Empire haven't actually changed, but all the people who excused the people "good guys" killed with "well, they were evil" may have lost their excuse. They are forced to think that their good guys who were killing bad guys to save the galaxy weren't that clean after all. They might suddenly start thingking that hey, those good guys in the ranks of the "bad guys" maybe weren't exceptions after all, maybe those evil guys were the exceptions! They may realize that war isn't that nice and pretty and every story has 2 versions. The difference between a hero and a rogue often comes down to who tells the story, as it's said in one of Elaine Cunnigham's fantasy books I think. And when it can't be like that, imo the story has failed. When the other side is so evil you can't really symphatize with them, everything starts being boring.

 

Tbh I thought Empire was evil. Allegiance by Timothy Zahn really changed that to me. Empire is full of normal, good people and they just have a few less nice people on top. And I think Empire should be shown more often like this, and it is - after Sidious is defeated, people, who aren't so easily brushed aside as "evil", mostly take over the Empire, and we just are forced to face the truth.

But of course, if someone wants their good guys all pure, this won't work for them. It would make the good guys killers and murderers, and that's a big thing for some people. (Not saying that you would be the case, but I do think some people like the blackandwhite-setup because it's easier. They have to think much less.)

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Haven't watched Eastenders either...but I promise I won't watch either of those. :D

 

Now, to me, a "bad guy" with really good motives isn't actually a "bad" guy. Especially if the bad guy doesn't do dramatic stuff like kill your owns for fun. Using the dark side doesn't make you evil imo. However, willingly using the dark side all the time requires that you embrace emotions like anger, and that will increase the possibility that you may commit evil deeds, i.e. killing people when you really don't have to.

 

I'm not that familiar with EU far away from RotJ, mostly staying in the area where Timothy Zahn's books can be found, but let's look at Thrawn. (Putting a spoiler thing just in case someone hasn't read the Thrawn trilogy).

Yep, he's killing a lot of people. That's pretty evil I guess. He's alliancing with mentally instable potential serial killer. Okay, maybe not that evil, but not too good either. He's doing nothing to help the noghri with their homeworld. Okay, he could have tried to do something, and certainly not to poison the soil of their planet, but it's pretty obvious that the case have been lost a long time ago. He kills a guy who fails to capture Luke Skywalker. Cruel. But he promotes another one. Confusing. Mainly, he's a little cold-blooded, sane guy who makes tactically good calls and decisions that make sense, and for good reasons.

 

 

 

The Empire haven't actually changed, but all the people who excused the people "good guys" killed with "well, they were evil" may have lost their excuse. They are forced to think that their good guys who were killing bad guys to save the galaxy weren't that clean after all. They might suddenly start thingking that hey, those good guys in the ranks of the "bad guys" maybe weren't exceptions after all, maybe those evil guys were the exceptions! They may realize that war isn't that nice and pretty and every story has 2 versions. The difference between a hero and a rogue often comes down to who tells the story, as it's said in one of Elaine Cunnigham's fantasy books I think. And when it can't be like that, imo the story has failed. When the other side is so evil you can't really symphatize with them, everything starts being boring.

 

Tbh I thought Empire was evil. Allegiance by Timothy Zahn really changed that to me. Empire is full of normal, good people and they just have a few less nice people on top. And I think Empire should be shown more often like this, and it is - after Sidious is defeated, people, who aren't so easily brushed aside as "evil", mostly take over the Empire, and we just are forced to face the truth.

But of course, if someone wants their good guys all pure, this won't work for them. It would make the good guys killers and murderers, and that's a big thing for some people. (Not saying that you would be the case, but I do think some people like the blackandwhite-setup because it's easier. They have to think much less.)

Firstly. I think there's a difference between morally evil, and mythologically evil. Which in star wars basically translates into the dark side.

 

But anyway, you make a very persuasive argument, and I'm inclined to agree with you. TBH the Timothy Zahn Trilogy is one of the few things I regard as really good in the post-ROTJ era. And I must say I agree that sometimes its good to divert from the typical battles between good and evil and focus on something different. Nevertheless, you cannot abandon it altogether and I feel that this is what the post-ROTJ era has done. To the point were moral ambiguity and mythological absence become the norm, rather than the other way around.

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Firstly. I think there's a difference between morally evil, and mythologically evil. Which in star wars basically translates into the dark side.

 

But anyway, you make a very persuasive argument, and I'm inclined to agree with you. TBH the Timothy Zahn Trilogy is one of the few things I regard as really good in the post-ROTJ era. And I must say I agree that sometimes its good to divert from the typical battles between good and evil and focus on something different. Nevertheless, you cannot abandon it altogether and I feel that this is what the post-ROTJ era has done. To the point were moral ambiguity and mythological absence become the norm, rather than the other way around.

 

Ah, there we have a little problem - the thing you would call "mythologically evil" for me is "evil for the sake of evil". From my point of view, dark side is the result when you start turning "evil", not some kind of cause for it. I want my "evil" with complex psychological motives that make sense.

 

Anyway, in some pieces of literature after RotJ, it's not really the lack of evil that would annoy me, but the fact that there are so many sides in the same conflict that it starts to be hard to keep track on. As much as I hate to critizise anything done by Timothy Zahn, I'm going to use Hand of Thrawn -duology as an example.

 

First, there are the caamasi and the bothans that don't like each other too much. Then species x thinks the bothans are right and decides to support them and species z thinks the caamasi is right and decides to support them. Then species y joins the bothan team because they'd had some problems with species z before the new republic. The new Republic leaders try to keep theirselves in the middle. That sneaky moff (whose name was Disra I believe, not sure...) tries to make all he can to bring Empire back to the fight and do as much damage to the New Republic as he can, while Pellaeon tries to make a peace treaty with the New Republic. Even if we only count the different alien species as 2 sides, that already makes 5 sides in one conflict.

 

But wait, there's more! Karrde, allied with New Republic leaders but still a little shady figure, takes Shada D'ukal, allied with Karrde but even more shady figure, and goes to find his old boss Car'das, the shadies figure of all, to try to end this conflict. They're not actually in the conflict at that minute, but it still adds at least 2 more sides that are more or less driving their own goals. Meanwhile in the edge of the galaxy, we have team Luke Skywalker&Mara Jade, with telepathic wingcreatures, vs. guys from the Empire of the Hand.

 

 

I'm all in for complex plots, but imo, especially in Star Wars, I really like it when there's maybe 2-4 different "sides" in the conflict. Even if we add Luke&companions and Karrde&companions to Republic leaders and ignore Car'das for playing a minor part, that's still 6 different sides in 2 books.

 

Now, I'm not familiar with the area farther away in the EU, but what I read from the original post, it sounds like the problem may be more like this than the lack of actual evil. To me, SW isn't supposed to me complex chicanery game with 101 different sides in one story told in 1 book. But I do think that evil for the sake of evil should be left to fairytales. Only one guy gets away with is for me, and he's Tolkien, and that's because of the style he writes. It's like reading Kalevala or greek mythology, especially The Silmarillion. But until SW is written in the same way The Silmarillion is, I don't like the absolute evil in it.

Edited by Seireeni
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Ah, there we have a little problem - the thing you would call "mythologically evil" for me is "evil for the sake of evil". From my point of view, dark side is the result when you start turning "evil", not some kind of cause for it. I want my "evil" with complex psychological motives that make sense.
I agree, but I think most dark siders do. Malgus for example has his own philosophy, that perpetual war is the only way to make yourself strong, he really believes in the Sith Code and simply believes that is the way it should be done. I don't feel he just wants power, but perhaps purpose. Vader has a very complex psychology and Revan is an example of just what you are saying. But we have to remember that 'evil for evil's sake' is often actually just power-hungry and for some people that's a motive enough.
Anyway, in some pieces of literature after RotJ, it's not really the lack of evil that would annoy me, but the fact that there are so many sides in the same conflict that it starts to be hard to keep track on. As much as I hate to critizise anything done by Timothy Zahn, I'm going to use Hand of Thrawn -duology as an example.

 

First, there are the caamasi and the bothans that don't like each other too much. Then species x thinks the bothans are right and decides to support them and species z thinks the caamasi is right and decides to support them. Then species y joins the bothan team because they'd had some problems with species z before the new republic. The new Republic leaders try to keep theirselves in the middle. That sneaky moff (whose name was Disra I believe, not sure...) tries to make all he can to bring Empire back to the fight and do as much damage to the New Republic as he can, while Pellaeon tries to make a peace treaty with the New Republic. Even if we only count the different alien species as 2 sides, that already makes 5 sides in one conflict.

 

But wait, there's more! Karrde, allied with New Republic leaders but still a little shady figure, takes Shada D'ukal, allied with Karrde but even more shady figure, and goes to find his old boss Car'das, the shadies figure of all, to try to end this conflict. They're not actually in the conflict at that minute, but it still adds at least 2 more sides that are more or less driving their own goals. Meanwhile in the edge of the galaxy, we have team Luke Skywalker&Mara Jade, with telepathic wingcreatures, vs. guys from the Empire of the Hand.

 

 

I'm all in for complex plots, but imo, especially in Star Wars, I really like it when there's maybe 2-4 different "sides" in the conflict. Even if we add Luke&companions and Karrde&companions to Republic leaders and ignore Car'das for playing a minor part, that's still 6 different sides in 2 books.

This is my second gripe with the post-ROTJ.
Now, I'm not familiar with the area farther away in the EU, but what I read from the original post, it sounds like the problem may be more like this than the lack of actual evil. To me, SW isn't supposed to me complex chicanery game with 101 different sides in one story told in 1 book. But I do think that evil for the sake of evil should be left to fairytales. Only one guy gets away with is for me, and he's Tolkien, and that's because of the style he writes. It's like reading Kalevala or greek mythology, especially The Silmarillion. But until SW is written in the same way The Silmarillion is, I don't like the absolute evil in it.
I think the dark and light sides of the Force are very important to Star Wars, and I think they allow for more complex kinds of 'evil'. It also allows people to exist within the 'evil' sphere and not necessarily be evil. Malgus and Marr for example aren't exactly evil, they are Sith, but they still provide the fairytale antagonistic.
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And that is the lack of that construct inherent to Star Wars – good and evil.

 

 

Actually they are bad for all sorts of reasons.and this one you mentioned is maybe the least important.Moral ambiguity is never a bad thing.

 

The things that are bad are concept art,the story/lore itself,cheesiness,banality,platitude.It feels like a terrible fan made load of crap.It's like two fans decide to dress up like jedi and sith and swing around badly handmade lightsabers and take themselves seriously while recording it for youtube.This is what is wrong with the post RotJ era.Also the vong is so out of character in the SW franchise its unbelievable.

The true EU is the Old Republic era.I dare say its much better than even the movies.

Edited by Kaedusz
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